Monday, January 26, 2015

My first translation!

This happened around this time last year. My friend and ex-colleague Purnima posted on FB asking for translation of one of the most famous poems in the 'Sumati Satakam'. I was a little surprised by this. Now, here's a girl who writes really great in Telugu, a voracious reader of English and Telugu books alike (and in fact of Hindi books too, of late, at that time) And on the other hand, here is a widely known poem explaining simple things. "Why is she asking others to translate this for her?" I have no clue till today, but I went on to respond to her, me being perhaps some third in the queue. Though, my guess was that, she was perhaps working on/reading some translations or maybe was just curious to see how variedly people translate the same thing.

We get to translate things as students and at many other times in life for various reasons as part of some or the other work. Say you are preparing for some English Elocution and some great content in a Telugu magazine has been given to you to rescue on and so forth. But I'd like to mark this translation of Telugu poem as my first official translation :-)

Original Telugu Poem:

తన కోపమె తన శత్రువు,
తన శాంతమె తనకు రక్ష, దయ చుట్టంబౌ,
తన సంతోషమె స్వర్గం,
తన దుఖమె నరకమండ్రు తథ్యము సుమతీ!

Translation in English:

One's anger is one's own enemy,
One's tolerance protects oneself, one's kindness comes to one's help,
One's happiness can bring about heavens,
Oh good-minded fellow, it is said one's sorrow can certainly yield hell!

I don't remember if this is exactly what came out of my translating skills back then, but I remember I tried to stay "literally" close. I tried to do the same now and hence hope the same content to be out now.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Twisters absolutely!

The weekend started off quite boringly, as usual. Lots of work to do, if I wanted to do, but nothing seemed interesting enough. Books were there, if I wanted to read, but again I had absolutely no interest to put even an iota of effort into reading. So off I went to check out some movies. Telugu movies? Checked, but nothing interesting came up. Same with Hindi, just this Friday watched "Highway", I really liked it, especially Alia's acting was commendable and I was in no mood to spoil it with some mediocre bollywood comedy that popped up on my search list. And then I went onto English. Actually I wanted to watch this "Another Earth" movie coz I watched only the second half on TV and missed the first half (of course some snippets on net made up for it, but I really really wanted to watch the first half). Somehow this 'Another Earth' route took a backseat and I finally zeroed in on "Absolute Zero" movie. And then completed it with "Category 6: Day of Destruction". En route, I quickly touched upon the movie "Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women" (for whatever little time I gave to it - couple of mins - the movie seemed sooo strange, perhaps the worlds out there, if any, would seem the same for us or is it all our imagination and expectation that is?) and barely barely just as much literally touched upon the movie "In the year 2889" (so to say, I did not care to land on it).

"Absolute Zero" was perfect for an English movie. I mean, it had the typical length of 1 hour something, logic crisply presented and neatly executed. Nothing more to mention beyond that. Ah well, forgot, few things here - there is this dialogue that comes up quite often in the movie "Science is never wrong...Science is never wrong!!". If I were the dialogue writer, I would have had some one ask this counter-question - "But what if you/we are wrong about Science?" (...wrong in the way WE had interpreted/used/implemented "it" - the Science?) Already the movie shows how two groups come up with different test results - one group with all Ph.Ds, which says that the event cannot happen any earlier than 200 years and the other group with interns, which declares that the event is happening NOW and who didn't happen/get to predict it any earlier. Now fine, Science is NOT wrong, but what good is it, if Science is right only at the brink of the disaster? To me, what matters is NOT if Science is/can be ever wrong, but if using (or not using) Science matters when it comes to saving people. If there is a better way than Science, then so be it!

The second movie (though again is mostly based on Science) has a dialogue which says just that - "The strongest forecaster is instinct". But this time, we do have some random character countering it - "I'd prefer reason to instinct!" Of course, we don't have any plans being executed there based on instinct anyway. Both the movies have a major scientific background. I'd love to see a movie in this genre where the game runs by the rules of both reason and instinct.

The Category 6  movie is a little long going by the English movie standards - nearly 3 hours! Couldn't watch it in a single go, had to break it up for y'day and today. The movie is again a typical one in this genre -there is this main thread of the wide-scale calamity going on and then there are these sub-threads of routine life problems - love, infidelity, politics, media, career et cetera et cetera. Yet the movie stays on in the mind for a while. What clearly stands out in the movie is that - Man is an optimist, survival is his priority (I often feel that even when people commit suicide, their intention is most probably not to kill their soul and let it survive more decently). You see life going away in the movie, in fact thousands of lives, but amidst all this chaos you see the angst of a mother wanting to save her daughter, the anxiety of would-be parents to save their child to be and the humans that all of us are, wanting to save our fellow human beings in the moment of disaster.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


 पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं
पूर्णश्य पूर्णमादाय
 शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः


Om purnam adah, purnam idam,
purnaat purnamudachyate,
purnasya purnam aadaaya,
purnam eva vashishyate,
Om shantih shantih shantihi


That (YOU) is full, This (you) is full,
From that fullness, comes this fullness,
When infinite is taken off from the infinite,
The Infinite indeed remains,
Peace peace peace.

You must have come across this hymn (from one of the Upanishads), which is regarded to hold a deep meaning, elucidating the ways of Universe. If you haven't, already, I will allow you to explore the meaning on Internet, but here are some links I like, which I have browsed just now for the purpose of this post. (Before immersing yourself in this exploration, you may want to listen to this first here) Otherwise, I too didn't know these metaphorical meanings...not until now.

All that I grasped from this mantra before, were:

1.This mathematical equation: Infinte - Infinite = Infinite (Like, Natural Number Set - Odd Number Set = Even Number Set, all of them being Infinite, some of them parts, but each of them a whole in itself)

2. And this understanding that any Cause-Effect sequence deduced from a human (a finite one that is!) perspective is bound to be incomplete in reality, yet we are forced to deem it complete for a limited frame of reference, we have access to.

Of course, it is not that I agree with everything mentioned in those links. I just like them, not that I agree with them. For instance, it is often brought up that there is absolutely no difference between the Absolute and the Miniscule...that every living being is not different in nature from the Infinite. That Advaita is the real reality. That non-duality is all that is! I don't really agree with it. The very human birth has its limitations, I myself am so different every time. I would most probably react in a very different way from what a cosmic being would react in a given situation, all other conditions being the same.

If we are not different from the Absolute, then we should not behave so stupidly! Like, I get so impulsive at times for no reason. If the Absolute or any other responsible being were to be so impulsive, then this Universe wouldn't be so orderly. If the Creation and the Creator are one and the same, if they are inseparable, then why the bloody hell is God so crazy as to behave so irresponsibly within His/Her own creation, tell me? No, it isn't like that for me. For me, the Creation IS separate from the Creator, most of the times, when there ought to be some growth. That is duality! Dvaita! Yet the Creation and the Creator unite and become one and the same, at times, when there ought to be some balance. That is non-duality! Advaita! Both of them are real for me. It is this churn between these two schema of Universe so as to bring out the most optimized Universe, more real for me than any other possibility. And that is Dvaitadvaita! The first para here under the heading "Purport", paraphrases this well, albeit from a different perspective. Growth and Balance are again like those two ends of the lever, that is our Universe, which is always held in a delicate and dynamic equilibrium. Or maybe, I should say two ends of a spring balance always showing a Zero reading, pulled by equal weights, but in opposite directions.


One day, some time towards the end of November 2014, as I was watching an episode of the Hindi serial, "Devon Ke Dev Mahadev" heremy brother was asking, "Idi eppatiki avvadaa? Leka pothe nuvvu chusinde chuusthuu untaava?" (That's Telugu. It means, "Is it never over? Or do you watch the same content again and again?").

I replied saying, "Vaalla story eppuduu nadusthuune untundi. Kaani manam daanni eppataki andukunee sakthi ledu avasaram ledu". (Their story is eternal. We have neither the power nor the need to catch up with it)

As expected, he had this "What the hell?" look on his face tagged with his usual mode of reciprocation - silence.

Again I replied (much to his irritation, when he really did not want to hear anything more from me), "Mari! Naakela telusthundi eppudavuthundoo. Naaku teleedu eppudu avuthundoo!" ("What then? How the hell would I know when will it end? I don't know when it's going to end!" with a "Don't you ever bother me while I watch this!" tone in my voice answering his second question.

This time, he did reply...not so usual with him, "Neekivanni telusthuntaayi kadaa" ("You tend to know these things right!")

This time silence was my turn, because I was already irritated enough. In this aspect, he never understood me. Nor did I understand him!

But very surprisingly, this serial on LifeOK ended on Dec 14, 2014. It was indeed very sudden for me. Just saying, as a matter of fact, it started on Dec 18, 2011 almost exactly 3 years ago. I must tell you this, I did inform my brother, "You know! That's finally over!"

When I wanted to start my blogging again, it was about this serial and this episode with my brother that I wanted to write. But you know how that song on Dec 26 and another 'Daily Digg' update distracted my attention. I did talk about the episode now, but about the serial, maybe some other day.